Gareth Bale is 'not a diver' says Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas
Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas says accusations that Gareth Bale is a "diver" are unfair.
Last Updated: 14/12/12 4:32pm
Bale could make his return to the squad after two weeks out with a hamstring injury in Sunday's clash with Swansea.
In his last match he was booked for simulation, his fourth yellow in 2012 for diving.
Referee Andre Marriner visited White Hart Lane this week and Villas-Boas confirmed he and Bale took the opportunity to talk the issue through.
"We received the visit of the referee this past week," Villas-Boas said. "Gareth and I spoke with the referee about this situation.
"Gareth has gone through a difficult time in his career. He has had potentially-career threatening injuries and sometimes for the pace that he goes at it looks like a dive from the player when he is actually protecting himself.
"It's a tag that if he has gained it is unfair. But it doesn't bother him in any way shape or form."
Villas-Boas may decide to start Bale on the bench against Swansea given the busy festive period is around the corner, while Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Scott Parker also look set to be named as substitutes.
Parker, last term's Tottenham player of the season, has not played for Spurs in this campaign due to an Achilles injury he suffered at Euro 2012 and Assou-Ekotto has been sidelined since September with a knee injury.
"Both of them are making good progress with the team," Villas-Boas said. "Scott I think is slightly ahead of Benoit at the moment, but both of them could be involved, or not.
"You have to bear in mind that their absence was long so they are picking up on their fitness levels."
Villas-Boas admits Parker's leadership skills will come in useful, particularly as Tottenham have been prone to conceding crucial late goals throughout the season.
"He's been out for so long and he's such an important player for us," the 35-year-old said. "He was amazing last season, so we've been really patient with the situation.
"We're glad to have him back, it was wonderful to see him out there on the (training) pitch. He offers other possibilities. It's good to have him on our side and good to finally count on him."
Don't miss any live and exclusive football coverage this festive season. Click here to visit Sky Sports' Festive Calendar